Using mechanical testing to assess texturing of prosthetic sockets to improve suspension in the transverse plane and reduce rotation

Julia Quinlan, Vasanth Subramanian, Jessica Yohay, Brad Poziembo, Stefania Fatone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Creating a secure and comfortable linkage between the residual limb and prosthetic socket in persons with lower limb amputation is a critical factor for successful rehabilitation, including ambulation and other activities of daily living. Unwanted rotation within the socket can be a clinical problem for prosthesis users. One way of addressing issues experienced with transverse plane control of the socket may be through increased friction interface forces. It has been proposed that friction at the residual limb/socket interface may be increased by adding texture to interface components. Three-dimensional (3D) printing may be used to fabricate sockets with texture patterns added to the inner socket surface. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of socket texturing on transverse plane rotation of the socket on a mock residual limb under two suspension conditions: passive suction and active vacuum. To conduct this study, we developed a mechanical testing protocol as no standardized tests currently exist to assess prosthetic sockets. Sockets with 14 different texture patterns were fabricated using the Squirt-Shape™ 3D printer. Textured sockets were compared to an Original Squirt-Shape (OSS) socket and a smooth thermoformed socket. Sockets were fitted with a mock residual limb and bi-axially loaded to 350 N compression with simultaneous rotation (2.5', 5' and 7.5') using a custom rotation assembly attached to a uniaxial hydraulic material testing system. There was a statistically significant three-way interaction between suspension, angle and texture (p < 0.0005). Torques between textured and reference sockets, for all rotation angles and both suspension conditions, were significantly different (p < 0.0005). Using newly developed testing protocols, it was demonstrated that some texture patterns significantly increased torque (i.e., resistance against unwanted rotation) in the transverse plane compared to both OSS and smooth sockets, especially for passive suction. Rotation testing of sockets may provide insight into socket design to improve suspension in the transverse plane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0233148
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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